The current administrative counsellor of the city of Geneva, in charge of the Department of Security and Sports of the City of Geneva, answered our questions a few weeks before the 2023 edition of CHI Geneva.
As an administrative counsellor in charge of the Department of Security and Sports, you must be a great expert on the Geneva International Horse Show. What role does it play in Geneva's major sporting events calendar?
It's a very important competition for Geneva and has become a must-attend event. The CHIG helps to raise the profile of our city and establishes it as a world-class equestrian centre. We want to promote and host sporting events of this kind, because they provide the public with a real thrill and showcase Geneva in the best possible light. The City of Geneva has been delighted to support this event for several years. Like all major events, the Competition also generates economic and tourism spin-offs.
The Geneva International Horse Show (CHI Geneva) is one of the biggest sporting events of the year. What are the positive impacts of CHI Geneva on the city in terms of the economy, job opportunities and business investments?
I think we need to look at this from a global perspective. Hotel occupancy rates in Geneva were exceptional in the first half of the year, and the current trend remains positive. The CHIG is bound to contribute to this. The media spin-offs from the Competition also helps to strengthen Geneva's international image, with long-term economic effects. The CHIG is a highly competitive event with riders of a very high calibre. It therefore resonates with the 'Geneva' brand: a city that cultivates precision and excellence in the eyes of the world, notably through its watchmaking industry.
How does the event benefit Geneva's equestrian community and young people?
This is an important aspect. The link between elite and amateur sport is fundamental, and I place it at the heart of the sports policy I am pursuing in the City of Geneva. Public access to horses and riders helps to link these two poles. For volunteers and equestrian enthusiasts, it's also an opportunity to discover another facet of their sport. All the elite riders were once amateur riders. The CHIG is also a way of inspiring new vocations and encouraging the next generation of riders.
How are the CHIG organising committee and the City of Geneva working together?
The City of Geneva is in close contact with the organising committee to ensure that everything runs smoothly. This competition is recognised as the best horse show in the world, and it has won this prize 10 times, which is proof of its excellence. As far as the City of Geneva is concerned, we renew our financial support every year through a multi-year agreement. We want the people who come to see the competition to have an unforgettable experience, and we want foreign spectators to take advantage of the event and to visit Geneva.
In your opinion, has the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, which is part of CHI Geneva, had a positive impact on the global recognition of Geneva?
I think that this positively contributes to the reputation of Geneva, which is known for its watchmaking and its close historical connections with the watchmaking world. CHI Geneva continues this tradition. More generally, this link between business, sport and civil society is essential to the city's appeal.
Rolex is heavily involved in CHI Geneva and the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping in an official capacity. In your opinion, how much of an impact does Rolex have on Geneva and global sport?
Rolex is a very important company for the City and the Canton. Let's not forget that if we can deliver quality services in Geneva, it's thanks to large companies like Rolex that are present on our soil and that generate income and employment. Rolex is also very involved in the city, in sport and in culture. Geneva owes a lot to Rolex.